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Supreme Court rejects GOP attack on Biden victory
The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a lawsuit backed by President Donald Trump to overturn Joe Biden’s election victory, ending Trump’s attempt to get legal issues rejected by other judges before the high court. (Dec. 11)
LANSING — A judge is expected to hold a hearing Monday morning on a lawyer’s request to lift a protective order shielding the results of a court-ordered examination of voting equipment in Antrim County — a county that President Donald Trump easily won, but where his legal team is alleging irregularities.
Portage attorney Matthew DePerno filed an emergency motion Friday with 13th Circuit Judge Kevin Elsenheimer, claiming he has “received initial preliminary results which are important for the public, the U.S. government and the Michigan Legislature to review and understand,” and are “an issue of national security.”
It’s the latest bizarre twist in a saga that began with an election night error in how the county compiled and reported its unofficial election results. County Clerk Sheryl Guy, a Republican, has claimed responsibility for an error that resulted in Democrat Joe Biden initially appearing to have won the northern Michigan County.
State and county officials and an election security expert from the University of Michigan have all said the Dominion Voting Systems tabulators and related election software in Antrim functioned the way it should have. But Guy made a mistake when she updated ballot information in Antrim after learning the name of a candidate in one township had been omitted. Because she updated information only in the one affected township, instead of updating the information in all precincts across the county, there was a mismatch when results from various precincts were combined to compile the unofficial results, causing numbers to be transposed and reported inaccurately, officials have said.
The results were corrected during the county canvass, conducted by two Republican and two Democratic board members, and the official county results show Trump defeating Biden by nearly 4,000 votes, with just over 16,000 votes cast for president.
But DePerno, who has said he is not working for but is “happy to cooperate” with the Trump campaign, has claimed in court filings that the tabulators are compromised.
DePerno’s client, county resident William Bailey, cited the initial reporting errors when he filed his lawsuit Nov. 23. But in agreeing to allow “forensic imaging” of 22 Dominion voting machines in a Dec. 4 order, Elsenheimer cited a close result in a village proposal to allow a marijuana dispensary. Bailey alleged that three ballots were damaged during the county’s retabulation, resulting in the proposal passing by one vote, rather than being defeated in a tie vote, the order said.
When he issued the order, Elsenheimer included a protective order “restricting use, distribution or manipulation of the forensic images and/or other information gleaned” without first getting his approval.
It is that order that DePerno now wants lifted.
More: State of Michigan moves to intervene in Antrim County lawsuit alleging voter fraud
More: Trump attorney: ‘Our team’ examining Antrim voting equipment after judge issued order
The Trump campaign, after a series of court setbacks in Michigan and other battleground states around the nation, is running out of judicial options to discredit or seek to overturn the Nov. 3 election, after the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday refused to hear a case brought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Biden won Michigan by more than 154,000 votes.
Despite that, DePerno said in an interview with Newsmax Friday that he has contacted Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, and asked him to have the Legislature approve a Republican slate of Michigan electors, “based on what we think we have found,” in Antrim.
The Electoral College is set to convene Monday at the Capitol in Lansing and at state capitals around the country.
The examination of the Antrim voting equipment was conducted Dec. 6 by a team from Allied Security Operations Group, a Dallas-area cybersecurity firm whose representatives have put forward inaccurate and flawed testimony and analyses in support of lawsuits brought by the Trump campaign and its allies.
Russell James Ramsland Jr., a cybersecurity analyst and former Republican congressional candidate who is identified in multiple media reports as an officer of ASOG, swore an inaccurate affidavit in at least one such case and gave flawed analyses of voter turnout in the Nov. 3 election. Antrim County would not say whether the ASOG team that examined the voting equipment included Ramsland, who, in one analysis confused voting districts in Minnesota with ones in Michigan.
The Washington Post reported Friday that Joshua Merritt, a witness code-named “Spyder” in court filings submitted by former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, is not a military “electronic intelligence analyst,” as described in court filings, but a veteran who only worked as a student trainee with the 305th Military Intelligence Battalion; he spent the bulk of his decade in the U.S. Army as a wheeled vehicle mechanic, and said he became involved in the Powell litigation through Ramsland. In 2017, Merritt joined ASOG, where Ramsland says he is part of the management team, according to The Post.
Elsenheimer allowed Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to intervene in the Antrim case Thursday, through the Attorney General’s Office. Benson has expressed concerns about the examination of the voting equipment threatening election security.
“What we know, and has been previously explained on numerous occasions, is that a human error by the Antrim County clerk prompted results to be reported incorrectly,” said Benson spokesman Jake Rollow. “Reporting errors are common, have no impact on tabulation, and are always caught and corrected in the county canvass if not before, as was the case in Antrim County.”
Representatives of Dominion, whose equipment is used in most Michigan counties and in states around the nation, have agreed to testify before the Michigan Legislature Tuesday or Wednesday.
Contact Paul Egan: 517-372-8660 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @paulegan4. Read more on Michigan politics and sign up for our elections newsletter.
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